Frida Ghitis, a former CNN producer and correspondent, is a world affairs columnist. She is a frequent opinion contributor to CNN, a contributing columnist to The Washington Post and a columnist for World Politics Review. Follow her on Twitter @fridaghitis. The views expressed in this commentary are her own. View more opinion on CNN.

(CNN)President Donald Trump is right in believing most Americans don’t want violence in their streets. But it’s America’s profound tragedy and grave danger that he, Trump, seems to want more of it.

That Trump wants chaos and mayhem is not a secret. It has been confirmed repeatedly by his team. In one of her last Fox News appearances, his now-former strategist Kellyanne Conway confirmed what we all knew: “The more chaos, anarchy and vandalism reigns, the better it is for the very clear choice on who’s best on public safety and law and order,” she said. Lara Trump, daughter-in-law and campaign adviser, later told Fox that the violence is bringing voters to Trump. His Democratic rival, former Vice President Joe Biden, pushed back on Monday, calling Trump a “toxic presence.” Frida GhitisFrida GhitisFrida Ghitis“You know me,” Biden said, “Do I look like a radical socialist with a soft spot for rioters?” vowing he will work for “safe America, safe from Covid, safe from crime and looting, safe from racially motivated violence.”The response was needed because Trump is trying to blame the Democrats as he stokes chaos.Read MoreThat is why he is insisting on going to Kenosha where an apparent supporter faces homicide charges for the killing of anti-racism protesters. Democratic Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers is pleading with the President to stay away because he knows Trump’s presence there can be explosive. The visit and idea that Trump is better for public safety is all a sham, of course, for many reasons. First, Trump is not better on law and order. Consider how many of his associates have been indicted and convicted. When it comes to street violence, this is occurring on his watch. The President who vowed “American carnage” was stopping with his inauguration, has ushered in and stoked violence and divisions. This is Trump’s America. He owns the violence.The conversation White parents need to have with their kids after KenoshaThe conversation White parents need to have with their kids after KenoshaThe conversation White parents need to have with their kids after KenoshaStill, he wants Americans to blame Democratic governors and mayors — and fear that Biden will make it worse. But it is Trump and his supporters who bear much of the responsibility for turning mostly peaceful anti-racism protests into battlegrounds. And the strife is not just continuing, it is intensifying; becoming bloodier, deadlier and riskier for the nation.Desperate to win reelection amid the worst economic collapse since the Great Depression and the worst public health catastrophe in a hundred years, Trump is playing with fire. How far he will go is anyone’s guess. Some fear America could unravel into civil war. But that’s something no one — save the most extreme of the extremists — wants to see. Whether or not they support Biden, it’s hard to believe many Americans disagree with Biden’s plea, “We must not become a country at war with ourselves; a country that accepts the killing of fellow Americans who do not agree with you.”Most Americans are horrified by the violence. I have no polls to prove that. But I know most, including most Trump supporters, don’t want deadly clashes between Americans who have different political opinions. Most Americans, Democrats or Republicans, don’t want to see looting, arson or vandalism, and certainly not killings.Trump claims he wants to see it all stop, but his actions and his words suggest he wants as much of it as possible. He’s trying to energize extremists in his base, and draw the support of middle Americans worried about unrest.Trump wants people to think Biden supporters are solely responsible for the violence. That is also a lie. Biden: Do I look like a radical socialist? Biden: Do I look like a radical socialist? Biden: Do I look like a radical socialist? JUST WATCHEDBiden: Do I look like a radical socialist? ReplayMore Videos …MUST WATCH

Biden: Do I look like a radical socialist? 02:35Remember the arson and destruction in Minneapolis after police killed George Floyd? A video went viral showing a black-clad man with an umbrella in one hand and a hammer in another, smashing windows. Minneapolis police said he was suspected of white supremacist ties and was trying to incite rioting. He succeeded. “Until the actions of…’Umbrella Man,'” police said, “the protests had been relatively peaceful.” In the chaos, Trump found a possible path to reelection. He sent federal forces to Portland, where their presence inflamed the protests. The mayor implored Trump to remove them. When he finally did, Portland turned much quieter until this past weekend. But by then, Trump’s game plan was already underway. The White House wanted to amplify and publicize the strife as much as possible, according to officials. “It was about getting viral online content,” an administration official admitted to the Washington Post.Trump’s most radical supporters seemed to also understand the strategy and were on the case. The ultra-extremist Boogaloo members, with their trademark Hawaiian shirts and assault rifles, popped up across the country. Violence was all too predictable. Most anti-racism protests and protesters are peaceful. Not all are. Trump backers, with fervid encouragement from the White House, from Fox News and from prominent voices in the far right, are doing everything in their power to paint protesters as the enemy. Even the Republican convention gave a prominent spot to armed civilians made famous by waving their weapons at protesters. Last week, when a 17-year-old allegedly killed two protesters in Kenosha, the far-right propaganda machine rushed to support the accused. Tucker Carlson seemed to justify him on his show saying, “How shocked are we that 17-year-olds with rifles decided they had to maintain order when no one else would?” Ann Coulter, in a deleted tweet, said she’d back the teen for president. On Monday, Trump refused to condemn the killings, instead seeming to try to defend the 17-year-old, saying he was being “very violently attacked.”On CNN, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin) also refused to outright condemn the killing. “It’s a tragedy,” he told Dana Bash. She insisted, “It is a tragedy, but do you condemn it?” A morally bereft Johnson squirmed, repeating that the situation was a “tragedy” before saying that he “condemn[s] it all.” Maybe he was scared of being insulted by Trump. When a caravan of armed Trump supporters headed to Portland this weekend, undoubtedly emboldened by praise for the Kenosha murder suspect, more death was in the cards.Get our free weekly newsletter

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Videos showed the extremists driving their trucks into pedestrian protesters, spraying mace into their faces. Trump encouraged them on Twitter, “Great Patriots!” In the clashes, one apparent member of the pro-Trump group was killed. Police and witnesses haven’t said what exactly happened. Unethical campaign strategies are nothing new. But this is certainly one of the most depraved, most dangerous electoral strategies in memory. This is not what most Americans want. It’s not what most Republicans or Democrats want. It’s what Trump, running out of arguments for reelection, has deliberately created.

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https://www.cnn.com/2020/08/31/opinions/trump-reelection-plan-kenosha-portland-ghitis/index.html

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